In many ways, 2014 was a landmark year for women in film. But don’t expect to see a ton of progress for women in Hollywood this year: of the 100 wide-release movies scheduled for this year, only seven are directed by women. Still, studios are finally beginning to recognize that making movies that tell women’s stories and draw female audiences is just a good business decision. Here are 22 movies made by or starring women that we’re excited to see this year.
Write to Eliana Dockterman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Fifty Shades of Grey
Love it or hate it, the twisted love story of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is headed to the big screen just in time for Valentine’s Day. Fifty Shades of Grey will be the first blockbuster in recent memory to be based on a book by a woman (E.L. James), adapted into a screenplay by a woman (Kelly Marcel) and directed by a woman (Sam Taylor-Johnson).
Amy Schumer is taking her talents to the big screen. The writer and star of Emmy-nominated Inside Amy Schumer has penned the comedy Trainwreck, which will be directed by Judd Apatow and star a slew of celebs, including herself, Bill Hader, Daniel Radcliffe, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton and even LeBron James.
Pitch Perfect 2
Pitch Perfect won millions of teen fans in 2012 with its warmhearted messages of sisterhood and song. First-time director Elizabeth Banks (who had a small part in the original film) will helm the sequel, which stars returning Barden Bellas Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson, along with some new faces.
12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong’o is set to have a huge 2015: Not only is she appearing in the new Star Wars and Jungle Book movies, she will also star in and produce (along with Brad Pitt’s Plan B productions) Americanah. In the movie based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel of the same name, she and Selma standout David Oyelowo will play young Nigerian immigrants making their way in America.
Following the success of The Heat, Melissa McCarthy is teaming up with Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) again to make the action comedy Spy about a CIA analyst who goes undercover to infiltrate the world of arms dealers after her partner goes M.I.A. The film stars McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham and Jude Law.
Jane Got a Gun
Natalie Portman’s female western, Jane Got a Gun, has been plagued by delays. After rotating through two directors, three villains, three release dates and a lawsuit, the film produced by and starring Portman is set to premiere in September.
By the Sea
This drama, written and directed by Angelina Jolie, will reunite the actress and now-husband Brad Pitt for the first time since 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith. By the Sea looks like a much quieter film for the couple, who will star as a married dancer and a writer traveling France in the 1970s in hopes of saving their marriage.
Don't Mess With Texas
Reese Witherspoon seems to be unstoppable as a producer. Riding the success of Gone Girl and Wild, Witherspoon will produce and star in Don’t Mess With Texas. In the movie, directed by The Proposal and Step Up vet Anne Fletcher, Witherspoon plays an uptight cop trying to protect the widow of a drug boss (Sofia Vergara) from murderers.
Z for Zachariah
One of the most anticipated movies premiering at Sundance is Craig Zobel’s adaptation of the psychological thriller Z for Zachariah, based on the book of the same name. Margot Robbie, breakout star from The Wolf of Wall Street, will play a woman who believes she is the only survivor of a nuclear attack until she encounters two other men, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine.
The Last 5 Years
Pitch Perfect 2 isn’t the only musical starring Anna Kendrick that comes out in 2015. In The Last 5 Years, a film adaptation of the successful off-Broadway musical that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2014, Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan play an actress named Cathy and a novelist named Jamie. The story of their five-year relationship is told from two different perspectives: Cathy’s in reverse chronological order and Jamie’s in chronological order.
Sleeping with Other People
Leslye Headland, who directed Bachelorette, will premiere her next film, Sleeping With Other People at Sundance. In the movie, Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star as Jake and Lainey, friends who lose their virginity to each other in college. The pair meets again 12 years later and realize they have both become serial cheaters and form an unlikely friendship as they one another in a quest to find healthy romantic relationships.
Lila & Eve
Lana and Andy Wachowski, the sibling duo behind the The Matrix trilogy, wrote, produced and directed Jupiter Ascending. The science-fiction movie centers on a janitor (Mila Kunis) who is told by an interplanetary warrior (Channing Tatum) that she is actually alien royalty.